And so, I was in Jakarta in the middle of December, where I began my backpacking trip across Java for three weeks. From Jakarta, I took an overnight train journey to the cheery Yogyakarta, from there on a night in Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya and then a more than 12 hours journey to Bali by train, ferry and bus.
In the Indonesian capital, I had free meals twice. Once was the welcome meal paid by a friend, which was also kind enough to pick me up from the airport and send me to my hotel.
And second was within the green compound of the National Monument for my effort to speak Bahasa Indonesia. The last time this happened, I tried to converse in French in Paris. He guy took pity on me and he gave me a free meal. That of course was not the first…
I am that endearing.
Anyway, the National Monument. This is probably one of several landmarks of Jakarta which are known abroad. Or at least, I know it. It is truly big. There is a museum underneath. Full of nationalistic propaganda but a museum nonetheless.
This structure is sometimes called Sukarno’s last erection. Jakarta has several big sculptures and monuments. They are magnificent but it took a toll on the economy after awhile. The price you have to pay for grandiosity.
But that was in the 1960s. Indonesia is now an emerging economy (again) and all.